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I create elaborately sculpted and illustrated ceramic figures referencing Portal Fantasy: a literary genre which typically features a protagonist’s journey to another world. I use this journey as a metaphor for the anxieties, discoveries, and lessons of adolescence.In Portal Fiction, a protagonist might find herself in a world where nothing makes sense and she doesn’t quite fit in. Her adventure in that unfamiliar land changes her forever. Adolescence itself often follows a similar plotline. As Portal Fantasy tends to feature lush, magical worlds teeming with magical creatures and dreamlike landscapes, I lavish detail upon my pieces in order to recreate that sense of visual wonder. I either allude to illustration, or directly illustrate upon these figures, creating a visual link to images found in classic Portal Fiction novels, such as Alice in Wonderland or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Thematically, I feature common struggles for adolescents, including the search for acceptance from peers, the challenge of forming one’s own independent worldview, navigating the body’s physical changes, and handling the sexualizing pressures of a consumer culture. Viewers are invited through a portal which reimagines the quest for belonging that we all experience.
Emily is a ceramic sculptor from Saint Louis, Missouri. She has exhibited her sculpture throughout the US, from Baltimore to Montana to Las Vegas. She is passionate about art’s power to impact the community, and has taught classes and led service learning projects for nine years across the US. She was a 2016 artist in residence at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Maine, and presented a panel at the 2016 NCECA conference in Kansas City. She recently traveled to Japan to study photography.